Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Argumentative Genre Letters - a brilliant lesson idea

Lesson/Activity courtesy of Kenzie Pratt, ELA teacher at John Marshall Mid-High.

Students have been reading in various genres this year, analyzing voice, tone, word choice, structure, and more.  In an attempt to help students practice voice, letter writing, and argumentative writing, Kenzie Pratt created this amazing assignment:

Part 1: Background Learning  
  • Students study non-violent activism and rebellion, including reasoning, tactics, and effectiveness.
  • Students study and analyze various persuasive and argumentative examples (videos, letters, essays, etc.).  Mrs. Pratt pulls these from history, pop culture, current events/news, and literature.

Part 2: Letter-Writing

  1. Students randomly select a genre from a hat (historical nonfiction, literary fiction, science fiction, etc.).
  2. Students randomly select a conflict from a second hat.
    Examples:
    People with the same color hair are not permitted to get married.
    Two people work the exact same job but are paid differently.  
  3. Students brainstorm a creative way to embed their conflict into their genre.
    For Example:  If a student chooses 'science fiction' with the 'unequal pay' conflict, they might decide to use an alien planet where four-eyed aliens earn fewer goop-coins than two-eyed aliens, even when both work the same tree-connector job.
  4. Students write an argumentative letter.  They must identify the conflict, propose a solution, and address a counter-argument, all with a strong voice fitting their genre and situation.
The creative and varied letters meet multiple academic standards and have proven to be highly engaging for students!

Want more inspiring ideas?  Connect with Kenzie Pratt on Twitter: @savvybknerd

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